I’ve always loved soup! So much so that I wouldn’t mind having soup for all three meals (and even in between)! There is so much of edible cuddling that happens with that one bowl of joy! I’ve always been disheartened with the fact there was no food joint in Cochin that was dedicated to this liquid ambrosia! One fine day, however, luck finally became a lady and I came across the name THE SOUP SHOPin big bold letters on Facebook; I cried for joy people! Obviously I had to visit the place ASAP!
One fine evening found me climbing a slightly precarious, yet deeply romantic staircase covered with creeping vines and bedecked with fairy lights. The Soup Shop is a cozy little alcove with attractive furnishings done up in urban chic. I settle myself down and immerse myself in the décor. I loved the music that was playing, EDM with a few of the latest hits thrown in. All in all, it felt nice and homey.
I was joined by one of the owners of The Soup Shop, RAVI SANKAR. I was perplexed by his decision to enter the food industry when he had already made his presence felt in the world of cinema. Ravi tells me a rather enchanting story about his travel to the Northern Regions of the Himalayas during the Rani Padmini shoot. Pahadi goats were aplently there and most of the dishes they had were made from goat. Often during long drives, they would stop at small Tibetian style street shops were they were warmed in and out by a delicious mutton soup. Ravi and his group of three close friends had always wanted to try their hand at something creative, unique and definitely related to food. The mouth-watering soup that they enjoyed shifted their attention to a large gap in the Kerala market for such a concept. Thus began the thought process behind The Soup Shop.
Kerala has been experiencing a major start up boom and Ravi and his friends jumped headlong into it. “There is a growing category of people who want to try new and innovative things and we know for sure that there is a community that enjoys soup. We wanted to open a small, cozy place that caters to them” says Ravi.
The Soup Shop opened shop with a variety of soups, salads, open sandwiches and drinks. The menu was limited with the main intent of people exploring the varieties of soups available and of course the concept behind such an offering. There was a lot of research that went into designing the menu. Right from understanding the finicky Keralite palette to getting the right permutation and combination from a variety of soups across different cuisines. Both International and Indian flavours were introduced. Some of their soups that hit the right notes with a vast majority were the BROCCOLI SOUP, CHICKEN SHORBA, CRAB AND PEPPER SOUP and the BROWN ONION AND MUTTON SOUP.
“We went for online promotions. We went through Zomato, Eat Kochi Eat and other online platforms. In this day and age, word of mouth works wonders and that really helped build our customer base” shares Ravi. The push behind this concept is introducing a balanced area of healthy and delicious food. Comfort food that you can always turn to. Without a doubt, malayali tummies everywhere demanded to be filled to the brim and thus the menu was extended further to pastas, burgers and steaks. Quite amazingly, The Soup Shop does home deliveries. I can imagine myself curled up on the couch with a mug of warm soup in one hand and a book in the other! How lovely!
“A good mix of crowds come in. We have a lot of middle aged customers, 70% of which are ladies, who have soups and salads as part of their diets. But a lot of people also opt for our selection of cream based soups as well” Customer interaction is top priority with Ravi and the other owners. Not only does this act as an excellent feedback mechanism, it also helps build a loyal set of customers. Conceptually, The Soup Shop has been a right success. The idea behind the ambience was to create an aura of comfort and get the customer feeling relaxed and at home. “We wanted a simple, yet attractive place” adds Ravi.
“The love for soup needs to spread to more and more people. Our hashtag #soupculture aims to promote the same. Anytime you put up a picture featuring us, please do add this hashtag.”
I am ready to delve into some SOUP CULTURE myself as I am served an enormous bowl of their famous BROWN ONION AND MUTTON SOUP. It smelt like home. The soup was spectacular! Loads of minced mutton, beautifully caramelized and a spicy broth all harmoniously elevated with generous amounts of cracked pepper. If you have a cold and need a warm cuddle, please curl up with a big bowl of this deliciousness! I enjoyed every mouthful! Next up was the CHICKEN SHORBA. The medley of spices made my mouth water like a reflex! Chockfull with chunks of chicken, veges and coriander, it was a rather flavourful soup with an excellent base. I was also served their GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD. First off, I was happy to see that the dressing was served separately and secondly, the portions were great with huge hunks of chicken and fresh lettuce, peppers and olives. My palette felt refreshed!
“This idea sprouted from a craving that we had for soup. We similarly want you to crave our food as well. We give a 100% assurance of good taste as we put our heart and soul into all our soups” Well Ravi, you sure have me craving your yummy soups! Can’t wait to come back for more! Soup’s up!